Foreign Minister, APNU/AFC MP meet on border controversy

…Govt, Opposition stand as one on Venezuela’s bullyism

Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd on Wednesday met with his shadow counterpart, Opposition Member of Parliament, Amanza Walton-Desir on Guyana’s border controversy with Venezuela in a rare show of bipartisan solidarity.

Opposition MP Amanza Walton-Desir (left) during the meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd

According to a statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the meeting was convened to discuss the recent actions of Venezuela including its illegal detention of two Guyanese fishing vessels and their 12 crew members.
“The Foreign Minister provided an update on the detainment of the crew and vessels and the Government’s efforts to ensure their safe return… Minister Todd and Ms Walton-Desir echoed the need for a bipartisan approach between Government and the Opposition, on matters related to the Guyana- Venezuela border controversy and welcomed continued dialogue on the matter.”
According to the statement, Walton-Desir also expressed the support of the parliamentary Opposition – the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) – for the Government on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy while registering her concerns for the welfare of the fishermen.
“Further, the Foreign Minister reiterated the Government’s position on inclusive governance and called for similar engagements from other shadow ministers to their subject Ministers,” the statement added.

Cordial meeting
Meanwhile on her own social media page, Walton-Desir released a statement in which she described the meeting, which she requested, as a cordial one and disclosed that one of her suggestions was for the Government to embark on a public education campaign.
“At today’s meeting, Minister Todd outlined the actions that the Government has taken to date which include protest notes to several international organisations and direct engagement with his counterpart Minister in Venezuela. He also restated that his Ministry is in direct contact with the affected families as we await what must be a diplomatic solution to the issue.”
“Importantly, I underscored the need for the Administration to embark on a public education campaign so that every Guyanese man, woman, and child can understand and properly articulate Guyana’s position as it relates to Venezuela’s preposterous claims,” the MP explained.
The meeting between the two politicians from opposing parties echoes the solidarity displayed by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, who released a statement one day after President Dr Irfaan Ali’s address to the nation condemning Venezuela’s January 7 decree which renewed its illicit claims to Guyana’s maritime space.
Last week, the two Guyana-registered fishing vessels that were operating off the coast of Waini Point in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) were intercepted by the Venezuelan naval vessel Commandante Hugo Chávez GC 24, which was illegally traversing Guyana’s waters.
The Venezuelans boarded the vessels and the captains were instructed to chart a course to Port Guiria where they were detained, to this day. The crew of one of the vessels, the Lady Nayera, include Captain Richard Ramnarine and his crew members Ramlakan Kamal, Nick Raghubar, Javin Boston, Michael Domingo, and Joel Joseph.
The other ship, the Sea Wolf, was captained by Captain Toney Garraway, while the crew members included Errol Gardener, Orland Roberts, Christopher Shaw, Shirvin Oneil, and Randy Henry. They have since been brought before a Venezuelan court, and reports indicate they will be kept in custody for some 45 days pending an investigation. (G3)